Luxury tourism in sustainable accommodation - what can compromise the tourist experience? An analysis of glamping in Italy
Keywords:Glamping, sustainable tourism, customer experience, cause-effect diagram, Ishikawa diagrams
Purpose of the study: Glamping (short for glamorous camping) is a type of guest accommodation that has comfort/luxury and nature/sustainability at the core of its value proposition. It can be quite challenging to combine luxury and camping in an accommodation offer, because it can be difficult for the service provider to achieve high levels of comfort in environments in close contact with nature. Guests can therefore identify critical issues during their stay. This study aims to identify and classify the causes of dissatisfaction associated with this type of accommodation.
Methodology: An exploratory qualitative study was conducted. In light of the objective of the analysis, negative reviews of 18 glamping sites located in Italy that Booking.com classifies in its Travel Sustainable program were considered. The analysis used an Ishikawa diagram to classify the causes of dissatisfaction and provides an overview of these.
Findings: Most visitors look for a well-kept indoor and outdoor environment and a professional, non-improvised service, in line with offers in the luxury category. The review analysis enabled the researcher to identify the causes of dissatisfaction, which are classified in four categories: structural aspects, relations with owners and/or managers, the external environment, and situational factors. Some of these causes are under the control of the accommodation provider while others are not, making it difficult to implement improvements.
Research limitations: It might be useful to consider a larger number of glamping sites (including those that are not part of the Travel Sustainable program) and divide the reviews by considering different customer segments (such as couples, families, single travelers, groups of friends, or business travelers) and nationality. It could also add value to conduct in-depth semi-structured interviews with owners and/or employees to understand the difficulties around implementing actions to improve guests’ experience from a management perspective.
Practical implications: Particular attention should be given to the relational aspect and the tangible part of the service, both inside and outside accommodation facilities. A customer-oriented strategic approach is essential, including monitoring the causes of dissatisfaction in order to deal with them timeously.
Originality of the study: The study considers a particular type of accommodation that is growing, considering the mega trend toward authentic and sustainable tourism.
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